It was Lily’s turn to visit our English Setter friend on hospice care. The scene this week, though, was very different.
Last week, when King visited, we found our friend sitting in a cozy armchair in her living room. She was talking, and quite animated when King walked in the door of her apartment. In less than one week’s time, our friend declined to the point where staying in her lovely apartment, surrounded by her personal belongings, was no longer an option. Sadly, knowing the time had come, her wonderful, caring daughter moved her to a nearby hospice care home. It is here that Lily and I visited yesterday.
With all of my dogs, our hospice visits have been a week apart. In such cases, so much can occur. With some folks, it can be way Down at the last visit, then Up the next.
When I walk into the room of a hospice patient with my therapy dog, I never know what to expect…. Together, we just go in…. and I let the dog do what he or she knows instinctively to do… Yesterday, Lily knew. The friend she had visited (herself, two weeks prior) showed no sign of having seen her before. She was in bed, her head propped up with pillows. Hearing someone enter the room, she turned her head toward the door. As she spotted Lily, she said, That’s a beautiful dog. You’re a very sweet dog. Lily placed her head gently alongside her friend, very close to her hand. Lily just stayed there, quietly present. After several minutes, our friend looked again right at Lily, her frail hand stroking Lily’s head. Then, turning her head away, she said, Thank you for coming. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m shutting down. Sweet little Lily licked her friend’s hand… bringing a smile to her face. Then, we left.